Hickory Nut Mountain Road

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4.4/5 (11 reviews)
Royal, Arkansas (Garland County)
Last Updated: 07/24/2020

Trail Information


Located just 20 miles west of Hot Springs is a beautiful overlook of Lake Ouachita. This is an excellent Sunday drive with a little excitement on the way to the top of Hickory Nut Mountain Vista. It starts off as a leisurely stroll down a gravel road with amazing Arkansas scenery. About halfway when it turns off the main road is where it gets a little more interesting. At this point, the terrain is slightly rougher. The view from the top on a clear day is nothing short of amazing and definitely worth the trek up there. There is dispersed tent camping just down from the overlook and hiking and mountain biking trails are nearby if one is feeling adventurous.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.4/5 (11)
Rated 4/5
Visited: 07/15/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

Drove this trail a few days ago from West to East on my way into Hot Springs. The end of the trail (where I started) near the overlook is steep, rocky, and has a big ledge that needs to be navigated to complete the drive. I would expect stock vehicles to struggle with this last section and unfortunately turning around isn't an option at that point in the trail. Since I drove it (backwards) I was able to go down the final ledge instead of up it which kept this trail at a 3 difficulty. If I had driven it from east to west as suggested I would rank the last section as a 4 difficulty especially in wet conditions. After I started the trail, the first section was really steep downhill as I had to navigate through the woods traversing rocky and uneven terrain. In a Gen 2 Sequoia this became difficult purely due to size and had the occasional bump on some rocks on the way down. In hindsight I should've gone even slower. Once I got halfway through the trail it became easy as I found myself back on maintained gravel roads. If I did it again I'd do it from west to east and would take a minute at the lookout before starting to let some air out of my tires for better control and puncture resistance on the way down.
Rated 4/5
Visited: 04/15/2021

Was able to get out today and try out the new lift and tires on the truck. Airing down wasn't an option today so the ride up the side of the mountain in the rocks was really bumpy but still had a great time.
Visited: 11/14/2020

There are two ways to get to the top of the mountain and the incredible vista of Lake Ouachita. From the east end at Crystal Springs or the west end, several miles to the west. If you are in a passenger car, definitely take the west end. The dirt road is wide and smooth to the top. But considering you are on this website, you and your four-wheel drive vehicle are going to approach the top from the east end. That was the route for me and my Toyota FJ. Plan to take some time to stop at the low water bridge to enjoy the creek. Great scenery on both sides, including a small waterfall. There is also a faucet set in stone here on the flat part. People were stopped filling up water jugs. I’m not sure what the water source is. Once you start up the mountain, the road gets a bit more challenging. There are dips which are fun and loose rocks along the trail. I did put it in four-wheel drive for the ascent. The view to your left of the mountains across the valley are nice and when you get to the top, you are rewarded with an amazing view of Lake Ouachita. It has to be one of the best scenes in southwest Arkansas. Spend sometime and enjoy! Headed back down, you can continue through the parking lot and down the smooth way, or go back down the way you came.
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Rated 4/5
Visited: 08/08/2020

Road from Hwy.270 to Lake Ouachita vista is a little bumpy in places, but still a good gravel road that even passenger cars can navigate. Take the trails through the gate at the far end of the vista parking to wind down side of mountain to the Lake. Narrow, steep & rocky in places,
Trail Review: Hickory Nut Mountain Road - Don Davis
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Visited: 07/24/2020

Ran this trail with a group of Jeeps. Everyone had a great time. All of the waypoints are still spot on. I recommend airing down your tires just a bit if you have the capability. Mostly more for comfort than traction because it does get bumpy. The view from the top is always outstanding. The view on a clear night with a full moon is beautiful.
Trail Review: Hickory Nut Mountain Road - Derek Shoptaw

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